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Old 05-26-10, 04:15 PM   #1
tattle
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NARROWED TO 3 Choices: 3 Speed or 7 Speed....Need Advice, Please!

Hi,

I desperately need your wisdom please?

I am in the market for a commuter bike (10 miles one way) and to use around Manhattan. I have narrowed my bike choices to:

1) A 7 Speed 2010 Dahon Boardwalk Folding Bike
2) 2009 Dahon Speed D7 7 Speed Folding Bike

3) Barcelona Citizen Bike 20" 3 Speed Folder Cruise with Alloy Frame

Is there a real difference in the 3 speed vs. 7 speed bikes? Any opinion of Citizen Bikes vs. Dahon? Although there are hills in the Park, the area I would most use the bike is flat..Thanks in advance for any help!

Regards,

Lorne
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Old 05-26-10, 06:40 PM   #2
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if it's me i will go with dahon speed D7. you never know when you will be needing the extra gears. even if the citizen barcelona is an alloy bike, it weighs 30lbs. that's way too heavy compare to D7 which is 27lbs.

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Old 05-26-10, 06:45 PM   #3
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New york means you'll be riding on the middle of the street. Many times you'll need a high top gear to get away from the cars breathing down your neck. The highest 3 speed gear may be limiting. Get the 7.
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Old 05-26-10, 08:07 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tattle View Post
Although there are hills in the Park, the area I would most use the bike is flat..Thanks in advance for any help!
From a previous thread regarding the Barcelona:
http://www.bikeforums.net/archive/in.../t-585372.html

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Originally Posted by Rosie8 View Post
I calculated a gear ratio of 31 - 58 inches for the Barcelona, and 30-61 gear inches for the Miami. Please correct me if I used the gear formula at Sheldon Brown wrong.
This is pretty short gearing, it will feel slow on flat ground. Plus, they've put a 14t on the back of the Barcelona so you can't go that much smaller; if you want to increase the size of the front chainring, you may need to get rid of the chainguard if there's not enough clearance.
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Old 05-26-10, 10:23 PM   #5
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It's surprising to me that you've chosen two very different bikes to compare. The D7 is a good all around bike, while the Barcelona is a "cruiser", and a "trip" down "memory lane".

Both are great for what they're designed for, but it seems to me that for your particular needs, the D7 might suit you better, if only because of the much wider gear range, especially the top end which helps to move quickly in New York traffic.

However, if your commute would have been mainly through back roads, side streets, and neighborhoods, the Barcelona might then be a good choice.

Good luck with what you decide.
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Old 05-27-10, 02:18 AM   #6
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I have a D7. Seven gears is 'better' for me. The spread is such on the D7 that 7th is good for 21-22 mph, which is quite 'thrilling' on a 20" wheel bike, 1st is low enough to take the sting out of mild hilly terrain with shopping or luggage or headwinds. I haven't ridden the others. The D7 (I've had both the Speed and the alloy Vitesse) is a sturdy evolved bike, with improvements arriving every year. The Dahons come with a five year frame warranty, extendable online.

10 miles each way on the flat is about 30-40 minutes of riding. I easily manage 14-18mph and I have wonky knees. The Dahon saddle is good for about an hour. :-). The Speed and Vitesse are a nimble, fast and comfortable ride, and the frames are stiff and responsive.

The Boardwalk is Dahon's earlier tubular frame, it's used on many other bikes by different manufacturers, and is Dahon's lower priced model. The Speed and Vitesse model use Dahon's Sonus tubing, (a triangular section) which is said to be stronger. It's somewhat better looking, I think, and a 2009 Speed may be better value than 2010 Boardwalk. Dahon's paint finish is very good, the frames are primed, colour-finished and then clear coated, other than on the matte-finish models. Bikes come with touch-up paint, a user and service manuals, and a stupid strap trouser clip which falls off. Carry Bags are availble for them 'El Bolso' and slip cases for public transport. The bikes come with an integrated purpose designed kick-stand.

The rest of the Speed D7 is mostly traditional bicycle, cup and cone bearings etc and all of the componentry and finish is very good. The rear gear mech is a Neos, designed for the bike, and very smooth in operation. Spares are cheap, and widely available online or from a Dahon dealer. The only 'must' with any of the bikes is to get the spoke tensions checked after about 10-20 hours riding, as wheels bed-in. Gear and brake cables will also need a tweak at this point.

Lighter is better with folders. Sub 12Kg is preferable, for me. A rear rack is a big help, as are bottle rack mounts and fender mounts on the frame. The Speed has all of those. If you keep the bike in good order, Dahons keep their value, and used ones sell easily.

And yes, I'm a Speed/Vitesse fan. Black ones are faster.

Last edited by snafu21; 06-04-10 at 10:20 AM.
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Old 05-27-10, 07:29 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by snafu21 View Post
... The rest of the Speed D7 is mostly traditional bicycle, cup and cone bearings etc ...
FWIW, according to information in the Dahon archives, the Speed D7 has had sealed hubs since, at least, 2006.
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Old 05-27-10, 08:15 AM   #8
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^^^^


Also FWIW, if you take one apart to lube it as I did today, under the dust seals are the traditional threaded axles, cups, balls, and cones, of which I spoke.


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Old 05-27-10, 03:43 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by snafu21 View Post
^^^^

Also FWIW, if you take one apart to lube it as I did today, under the dust seals are the traditional threaded axles, cups, balls, and cones, of which I spoke. ...
I stand corrected. I assumed that "sealed" in the Dahon hub specs meant "not loose balls". Reviewing the Dahon specs, "cartridge" is the term they use for "not loose balls". My 2008 Speed P8 has "cartridge" bearings. I repacked the front hub bearings on a 2005 Boardwalk D7 last year. That hub was like the hub on your Speed D7. Now I know it was a "sealed" hub.
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Old 05-27-10, 05:06 PM   #10
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D7 models use the cheaper wheels with formula hubs and possibly velocity girder rims.
IMO, they're not well sealed to outside elements.
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Old 05-28-10, 02:23 AM   #11
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When I got my first D7 in 2007 I was expecting 'sealed' bearings too. Imagine my suprise, etc. The seals keep out some grime, the one on the rear hub fits o'er the axle onto the hub body. Thus, it 'sticks' to the axle and rotates agains the hub, adding friction, although not much. This is 'interesting.'

I've not had a problem with the hubs, they're freewheeling, and they have the advantage that they can be lubed in minutes. But the word 'sealed' is a bit like the 'water resistant' stamped on the back of my Casio watch. The rims are much better on the 2008/2009 bikes, the 2006/2007 joints on some of them were rough. The 2009 rims are stamped with the Dahon logo but could be made anywhere. I suspect Alex rims or some such.

The bottom brackets, cuppy and coney too, are quite smooth. I have a Shimano cartridge replacement for mine which I haven't bothered fitting until the original wears out, sometime in 2050. None of the rotating bits are overgreased from the factory, hence the attention to them, given that grease is almost as much a seal on these hubs as a lubricant. Hanging from the rafters in the garage is Mother's Raleigh shopper, bought new in 1951. Cup n' cones are fine after nearly fifty years of use in the English weather. It's had a few new tyres though.

So, back to the original post, in-exhaustive testing by one person has yet to break a Speed/Vitesse D7 hub. :-) One of the guys in Europe did 7000 miles through the UK, France and Spain on a Vitesse a couple of years ago, the only replacement parts were tyres and bar grips. That's fine for me, and the reason I bought my second D7.

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Old 05-28-10, 08:50 AM   #12
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after reading all this your only real choice here is the d7. with 56 gear inches max you'll be spinning like mad just to go with typical traffic, I know cause I usually do that and still get passed by every biker with any form of gearing. I'm already trying to save up for a schlumpf drive for my folding bike so I can up it to a mid 70's gear inches while still having a 40's gear inches to climb those pesky hills.
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Old 05-28-10, 09:55 PM   #13
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Thanks everyone for your great responses! I'm going to go with a Dahon bike...now to decide which one...it must have a rack
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Old 05-29-10, 01:36 AM   #14
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Ya. In the UK, the 2009 D7's are arriving without racks for some reason. A model change? They're available from Thor and Gaerlan. Other racks might fit, but can interfere with the fold somewhat. The Arclite is the standard alloy rack, the Tour is the taller rack for panniers. Stuff hung off the side of the bike can interfere with the heels unless well placed.

Bon chance!
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Old 05-29-10, 08:12 AM   #15
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You might also consider derailleur vs internal hub gearing.

IMO there's only one choice for a folder for commuting in the city and that is: internal hub.
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Old 05-29-10, 09:35 AM   #16
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You might also consider derailleur vs internal hub gearing.

IMO there's only one choice for a folder for commuting in the city and that is: internal hub.

True. Once I got the Dahon Piccolo and then the Brommie M6L I couldn't imagine ever doing city riding on a derailleur bike anymore. It is way more convenient for stop and go situations, especially if you're like me and always forget to downshift before stops.
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Old 05-29-10, 10:09 AM   #17
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"You might also consider derailleur vs internal hub gearing."

The original poster has, with the help of the first four replies. The Barcelona has a Nexus three speed giving 31 - 58 inches

The Dahon D7 HG (Hub Gear) gives 42" -78", an improvement, but both lose significantly to the D7 which has a better low and top end of 34" - 92". The D7 HG is also more expensive than the Speed D7.

Better hill climbing and a faster top speed for less money, then. Ya pays ya money....

There's a fuller recent discussion of the Barcelona here:

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Old 05-30-10, 10:16 AM   #18
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Here is one with 8 gears IGH http://www.thorusa.com/dahon/2009/curvesl.htm
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Old 05-31-10, 07:57 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snafu21 View Post
"You might also consider derailleur vs internal hub gearing."

The original poster has, with the help of the first four replies. The Barcelona has a Nexus three speed giving 31 - 58 inches

The Dahon D7 HG (Hub Gear) gives 42" -78", an improvement, but both lose significantly to the D7 which has a better low and top end of 34" - 92". The D7 HG is also more expensive than the Speed D7.

Better hill climbing and a faster top speed for less money, then. Ya pays ya money....
Uh no, that's only considering the advantages of the derailleur (range and price), but there are also a number of advantages enjoyed by the internal hub such as:
-The internal hub setup is less likely to snag things when the bike is folded and less likely to snag your pants while riding.
-The internal hub shifts much faster. So if you mostly need to toggle between 31 and 58 GI (as when encountering traffic signals in the city) then the bike with the internal hub will be faster and allow you to pay more attention to the road.
-The internal hub is more durable and much more flexible in terms of maintenance and cleanliness.
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Old 05-31-10, 08:05 PM   #20
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My NWT with Dual Drive has the best of both worlds - derailleur and internally geared hub.
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Old 06-03-10, 03:13 PM   #21
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D7
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